The Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association (LACERA) provides pension benefits to 73,385 pensioners nationwide, with more than 60,000 residing in California and more than 42,000 residing in Los Angeles County. The benefits those pensioners receive ripple throughout the economy, affecting various industries and job sectors. In 2021, these pensioners generated a total economic output of $2.7 billion and supported thousands of jobs in Los Angeles County, according to a report just released by Beacon Economics titled “Economic, Fiscal and Social Impacts of LACERA Pensioners.”
With retirement security becoming a pressing national issue, the report that LACERA commissioned found that defined benefit plans, such as those offered by LACERA, are more efficient, secure, and provide more value than defined contribution plans like 401(k)s in delivering sustainable retirement benefits. The pooled assets of a defined benefit plan offer superior financial protection compared to defined contribution plans, as they remove longevity risk, offer inflation protection, and provide death benefits while delivering a secure and steady income to the beneficiaries. The United States Census Bureau found that the nation’s rapidly aging population has seen a 31 percent increase in those aged 65 and older from 2011 to 2021.
Lackluster vaccination uptake drove the Newsom administration to pursue the more personal approach that public health experts favor, but the still-nascent campaign leaves out large swaths of the state. The administration launched its “Get Out the Vax” campaign in April, enlisting 70 community-based organizations and 2,000 community canvassers, now focused on Los Angeles and Central Valley neighborhoods where vaccinations have plateaued or declined.
But county public health officials say the campaign isn’t big enough to combat the vaccine misinformation that has infiltrated regions such as California’s rural north.
CEM, using a simple mix of small-cap indexes, found that even though private equity funds deliver what looks to be outsized raw returns, they fall short of CEM’s benchmark since 1996. However, as we’ve also said for some time, the big exception is investing in house, which CEM calls “internal direct”. And the worst, natch, is fund of funds, which have an extra layer of fees.
There are two additional reasons the CEM findings are deadly. First, the time period they look at, going back to 1996, includes a substantial portion of the 1994-1999 “glory years” where private equity firms were coming back from a period of disfavor after the late 1980s leveraged buyout crash. Less competition for deals meant better buying prices and better returns. Alan Greenspan dropping interest rates for a full nine quarters after the dot-com collapse was the first episode of the Fed driving money into high risk investment strategies by creating negative real returns for a sustained period, and the rush of money into private equity elevated deal prices.
As stark disparities emerge in vaccination rates, L.A. County officials are jump-starting efforts to improve access for people of color. Strategies include creating more vaccination sites as well as better public messaging campaigns, improving access to transportation and reserving spots at neighborhood vaccination locations before people from other parts of the county can scoop them up.
“We have a lot of work to do to fix this,” L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday at a county Board of Supervisors meeting. “However way you cut this data, it’s clear that in some of our hardest-hit communities, there are populations that are not getting vaccinated at the same rate as other groups.”
On Tuesday morning, Darby stood in line yet again, this time at a vaccination blitz in South Park aimed at administering doses to 800 seniors, particularly Blacks and Latinos, as well as healthcare workers in four days. Though there are historical and cultural issues that may make Black residents skeptical of vaccines, the biggest issue in L.A. County thus far has been access, said Councilman Curren Price, who helped plan the event.
Author(s): RUBEN VIVES, JACLYN COSGROVE AND SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA, LOS ANGELES TIMES